LEAVING THE SAFETY NETS BEHIND,
KATHY ROGERS SOARS WITH HER
RESULTS BASED PERSONAL TRAINING
SERVICE ELEVATION KINETICS
The Portland, Oregon Based Trainer, A Former Women’s
Tackle Footballer and Current Weightlifting
Competitor, Creates Individualized Programs Within
A Dynamic Community Setting
Growing up in New Hampshire, Kathy Rogers was the proverbial overweight but active teenager who loved playing sports. Whether she was playing field hockey or throwing discus in track and field, she was the one huffing and puffing in the back, determined to keep up despite her physical challenges. When she ran the 400 meter, her coach attributed her success to her attitude – the same positive energy she brings to her growing clientele as she builds Elevation Kinetics, the results based personal training service she launched in 2011.
Now in the best shape of her life and living in Portland, Oregon, a continent away from “the family that loved to feed me tons,” Rogers doesn’t just help her clients increase their energy, improve sports performance, lose weight, increase muscle tone and feel better in their body and lives via individualized programs. She inspires them to “imagine a life where anything is possible,” where “if you can dream it, you can do it” like she has.
She got involved with weight training early and at age 20, while attending Ashmead College (now Everest College) in Oregon, she switched from education to fitness, earning an applied practical two year degree so she could help people experience the accomplishment of improving their lives through fitness every day. Embracing the outdoors oriented lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest, Rogers began establishing herself as a popular trainer while playing five seasons of women’s tackle football as an inside linebacker on the Portland Shockwave Women’s Professional Football team. Since retiring from football, she has spent the past few years carving her physique to compete in Figure, a women’s division of bodybuilding.
Not many trainers can say they worked under a world renowned mentor for ten years, but Rogers launched her professional career under the tutelage of Sherri McMillan, multiple award winning owner of the facility Northwest Personal Training and Northwest Fitness Education, who has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. Rogers acknowledges that the powerful training systems that McMillan has created for gyms all over the world as well as her regional facilities in the Northwest are “built into my soul.”
But at a certain point, even as she rose through the ranks of management, the budding entrepreneur felt she had reached a plateau and longed to start her own training business. Rogers, who had brought in and developed a huge clientele of her own at Northwest, had held back from exploring her options for a time because she felt her daughter was too young, and she didn’t want to take the risk.
When her daughter turned seven, she started working on her resume and met with local trainers, gym and studio owners and bootcamp owners, interviewing them about their lives and work to help her determine the next phase of her career. For a time, Rogers was on the fence between working as an employee again at another facility or starting her own studio – and as an independent contractor running her own business at Peak Condition (whose 6,500 square foot facility has seven other independent trainers), she has the best of both worlds. Owned by Paul Collins, the gym is, as Rogers describes it, “bare bones, without a lot of bells and whistles,” with a focus on clients, programs, space and functional training equipment.
“It’s not a fancy gym, but it’s big, comfortable and has wonderful space utilization, with high ceilings and big windows,” she says. “All the trainers work really well together, bouncing ideas off each other and trading clients back and forth when we take vacations. . “There’s no corporate agenda, so working there is actually a lot of fun. We make a really cohesive team, but we are all individuals running our own businesses. It’s kind of like a fitness version of a farmer’s market, with all sorts of different vendors.”
When Rogers first met with Collins in April 2011, he was in a small 1,300 square foot space and was looking to pick up more “renters” so he could move into the current, much larger spot. He had bought the studio from its previous owners just a few years earlier and while rebranding, subsidized his lease by taking on other trainers looking for a place to work with their private clientele. During her three week vacation from Northwest Personal training, she joined forces with the other trainers who signed on to work at Peak Condition and helped gut the space (which had been a coffee shop), tear down rooms, put in floors and paint.
Rogers in essence started her new venture with little money, but her love for her clients and desire for them to succeed inspired many to buy higher quantities of training from her upfront as a way to support her new venture. She remembered a very important quote she once heard that inspired her. She doesn’t know where it came from, but it became her mantra: “Real Entrepreneurs make the jump without a safety net.”
“I was fearful,” she says, “being without a steady paycheck for the first time in ten years and having no set time frames or structure. But fear turned out to be a healthy thing because it motivated me to be successful and create individualized programs that could help people get the results they desired. The key was to get to the bottom of what made each individual tick, discover their strengths and weaknesses in all areas and work with them to create a plan of action for success.”
Rogers launched Elevation Kinetics in August 2011 with 12 clients for the first few months, and quickly surpassed her goal of adding two new clients per month via referral by family and friends of happy clients. While Northwest Personal Training was strictly a women’s facility, Rogers for the first time enjoyed working with a clientele that included a balance of men and women. Soon, she built up her schedule and business structure to the point where she had so many clients she could not train them all one on one, so she began doing semi private training of more than one client at a time – the fulfillment of her plan to fill up time slots and divide them.
Her small groups range from 3-5 members and she has found that clients are more inclined to train with their friends and family members than strangers – leading to another unique source of referrals. As a complement to that, some small groups that start out with total strangers evolve into a positive support system that cultivates friendships that extend outside the gym environment. – even to the point where they go to movies together.
While Rogers sits down with each client and creates individual plans based on his or her fitness, nutrition and lifestyle goals, she recently ran (and will run several more in 2014) a six week transformation program as a contest for her clients, co-workers or anyone else who wants to participate.
Working within a “Biggest Loser” type scenario, there are different levels of both fitness and nutrition, and Rogers has found that those who choose to participate via the nutrition program are most likely to comply with the program, depending on their chosen level (which varies, because an experienced athlete won’t get the same results from a beginner’s program as a someone just starting on their fitness journey with Rogers). Both the nutrition and training programs are set up so people can work on their goals at home and at the gym. Rogers is excited to see that her program—which has a cash reward incentive—engages not only the participants but the larger community of Elevation Kinetics’ Facebook page.
“We start out with a dynamic warmup that’s specific for each person even if they’re in a group setting,” she says, “and then we look at posture and corrective exercises and create balanced workouts where we’re not just focused on one body part that day, but the big picture. By doing that, they’re getting twice and much pulling as pushing. It’s about total body movement, coordination and agility – not just toning but improving functional athletic level and overall movement patterns.
“All of what we do here at Elevation Kinetics carries over into our clients’ day to day lives,” Rogers adds. “It’s not just about coming to the gym, working out and then you’re done. The goal is the make the rest of the day better, and that involves some real work in weight training, where everyone lifts weights every time they come see me, and strength training. So there’s a lot of clunking metal and noise, and clients working hard, going back and forth between heavy and lighter resistance, hitting everything they need to when it comes to agility and strength training.”
Confident more than ever before in her ability not only to train but to build her business, Rogers has her eye on eventually owning her own facility that would rent space to other trainers – as much, she says, for the financial aspect as the fact that she likes having people around her with varying lifestyles and goals.
“The real excitement for me,” she says, “is seeing changes in people, even little ones, not just in their body but in their attitude and day to day life. I get to watch people grow and reach their goals all the time – and see the resulting confidence and other positive effects that the improvement in fitness has on them. There is nothing for rewarding to me than the simple notion of watching people improve and knowing I played a part in that.”